Recently, New Line Cinema finally released the very first trailer for director Andres Muschietti’s upcoming take on Stephen King’s IT, which is easily one of the author’s most beloved works. The collective internet went absolutely nuts for it because, put simply, it is one of the best trailers to be released in quite some time. Part of this is probably being driven by the nostalgia that many of us feel for the 1990 version of IT, which was done as a two-part TV miniseries. Though, it more or less served as a movie. Or two movies. However you want to look at it. Nostalgia can be a good thing, but this new and terrifying trailer proved that we really, truly need an IT remake.
The new IT trailer, according to Deadline, was viewed nearly 200 million times in the first 24 hours of its release. That shattered the previous record. A big part of that had to do with the fact that this trailer is straight-up scary, which is what it needs to be. Put nostalgic feelings aside for a brief moment. When was the last time you watched the 1990 version of IT? All do respect to Tim Curry, who played Pennywise the clown in that version, but it simply isn’t that scary. There are some great performances in that version, like the aforementioned Tim Curry, but it just isn’t scary. At least not on the level that IT deserves to be. Perhaps creepy, but not genuinely frightening. Anyone who has read IT knows that the source material is downright horrifying and that, above all else, is why we need a modern, genuinely scary version of IT.
Stephen King has crafted a lot of great horror in his day, but IT is quite possibly his work most deserving of a great movie adaptation. The 1990 version, at least the first half of it, is good for its own reasons, but it simply doesn’t live up to the level of horror that exists in the novel. No, we haven’t seen this new movie yet, but the trailer alone makes it clear that Pennywise is pure, unfiltered nightmare fuel. There is a lot of scary imagery in that first trailer, but nobody is immune to the pure terror of that final shot. Pennywise (played this time around by Bill Skarsgard) emerging from the water like that, on a mission to absolutely murder and eat a kid, using his missing, adorable little brother as bait. Pure, A-grade horror. People are commonly afraid of clowns, but this is the kind of thing that can make everyone living person afraid of clowns. Hell, even actual clowns recently worried that the movie was going to harm their profession. Sorry clowns, but that is kind of amazing when you think about it. That is what IT should be. That is what IT deserves. And that’s just based on the first trailer.
Let’s look at this from another angle. Let’s say that you actually love the 1990 version of IT and that you feel it can truly never be topped. Okay, fair enough. You can have that version and love it the way that you love it now and always will. But can you expect a person who didn’t grow up with that version to feel the same way that you feel about it? Can I really expect my 18-year-old brother to look at that version the same way? That version of IT hasn’t aged particularly well and modern audiences simply can’t be expected to respond to it in the same way. But Stephen King’s IT is very much a story worth telling in a visual medium outside of the novel. Modern audiences deserve a chance to see that story done in a way that will resonate with them. That is the point of a remake and that is when you know one is really worth doing.
What frustrates so many moviegoers is when a remake feels truly unnecessary, which seems to be more frequent. Why are they doing this? Is there a reason for this beyond a cash grab? Those are often questions lobbied at Hollywood’s current remake obsession. For example, take Rob Zombie’s Halloween. Yes, there are some people who like that movie, but the original Halloween holds up in every way something can be expected to hold up. It is still scary. It still works. Rob Zombie, as a creator, probably felt as though he had a creative reason to retell that story. But as audience members, it seemed downright confusing and truly unnecessary. That is not the cast with IT. I would wager that even the most staunch defenders of the 1990 version can see the reasoning behind doing a modern version of IT.
We may only have a trailer to go by, but it is clear that Andres Muschietti understands what makes IT so damn scary and how to present those elements to a modern audience. Who knows? He could have botched it and somehow, someone was able to cut together one of the best trailers for a modern horror movie in a long time using only the best parts of an otherwise bad movie. But that seems a little doubtful. At worst, we’ll be getting an average, modern version of IT with some probably great scares. There are already plans for an IT sequel, which would feature the kids of Derry all grown up, like in the novel and in the second part of the 1990 miniseries. If this goes even remotely well, it will be hard to complain about this particular remake. This one feels necessary. This one feels right. Well, as right as a movie about a kid murdering/eating clown can feel.
Bill Skarsgard leads the cast of Stephen King’s IT as Pennywise the clown. The cast also includes Jaden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Owen Teague. IT is being directed by Andres Muschietti (Mama) and is set for release on September 8, 2017.